This is brewing up nicely! We’ve got all the elements to a good story. Money. Power. Greed. And since it’s NAR Mid-Year I’m sure there is going to be lots of Sex too.
It all started last year when NAR’s Multiple Listing Issues and Policies Committee (MLIPC?) made a rule change to allow Franchisors to display indexed IDX listings from their brokers on their respective site homepages. When implemented correctly this creates a better user experience and is also great for the site’s SEO performance. But of course the MLIPC had a bunch of rules/restrictions. The big one being you had to be a Franchisor, under FTC rules. I would argue, the restriction of displaying advertising around the indexed listings in another issue that needs to be re-looked.
Well it didn’t take long for large independant brokerages to raise a stink. They wanted the same ability as Franchisors. Letters were sent and chests were pounded in protest. Even the vendors are getting in on the action. And some flip flopping happen too. Most recently Ron Peltier, CEO of HomeServices of America Inc, who is a member of one of the groups requesting inclusion is now also saying he wants the policy repealed!
So much drama! I love it!
So NAR had to act. Recently CMLS published a “Policy Consideration” (reconsideration?) document for discussion next week in Washington D.C. at the NAR Midyear meetings. Here’s my predictions:
Will NAR allow broker networks as well a Franchisor to display indexed IDX listings on their websites?
Will NAR repeal the previous policy allowing indexed IDX listings on Franchisor websites?
Let Franchisors and Brokers compete with other real estate portals by allowing advertising around these indexed IDX listings (I’m not going to give them a pass on this one.)
It will be a long time before anyone does any real innovation in this area (listing display). Most likely anyone who does will face a policy backlash.
And the weird part about all this is that this isn’t the most complicated issue the MLIPC is going to face. Check out what else is on their schedule.
To me the single most interesting thing about this issue is what a game changer MOVE (Realtor.com/Threewide) made by acquiring ListHub. You can’t have a talk about listing syndication today without MOVE in the discussion.
Greg Manship and I are moderating a panel of vendors next week at CMLS’ sold out Syndication Workshop. Panel includes representatives from: Zillow, Point2, Threewide, Trulia, Homes.com and Realtor.com. Zillow is in their “quiet period” so we don’t expect to hear much from them but it’s great they are going to participate.
Most of my questions will center around what responsibility does each vendor feel in regard to listing data. I might also dive in to the dynamics of the MOVE partnership. If there is something you would like to know let me know.
You can see the entire schedule at the CMLS website.
Conspiracy Theory Number 1.
Three little letters. IDS. Beware when NAR comes out to “save us” from all these Syndication woes and announces a new policy, IDS (Internet Data Syndication). They take a page from the past (IDX) they start issuing policies around the syndication of listings, and guess who they pick as their partner? Yup, MOVE.
Conspiracy Theory Number 2.
Substitute the name “MOVE” with “RPR” in Conspiracy Theory Number 1.
Stick your head out the window and put a hand to your ear. You’ll be able to tell who won by whether you hear the word “Checkmate!” come from Campbell, CA or Chicago, IL.
See you next week!